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  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: n/a
  • Foreign: Free
  • Languages of instruction:
  • English
  • Deadline:
  • 15 April
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 391pts.
  • Duration:
  • 2 years

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    The Master's programme enables students to deepen and extend their knowledge, abilities, and skills by studying a broad range of subjects in the core curriculum and elective modules. Students learn to analyse and evaluate process and system interrelations in the Earth and Environmental Sciences. They will acquire geoscientific regional competence and cultural knowledge during their study abroad in China.
    The degree programme teaches interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological competence and trains general scientific and subject-specific judgement in theoretical and practical terms. Students learn to familiarise themselves with topics of the Earth and Environmental Sciences rapidly and independently. They also learn to plan, implement, and finalise work projects using a goal-oriented approach.

    Educational organisation

    The Master's programme consists of modules totalling 90 credit points (CP) and the Master's thesis, which comprises 30 CP.

    Of the required courses, modules totalling 44 CP are taken at Freie Universität Berlin:
    Module: Geographical Information Processing for Advanced Students (10 CP)
    Module: Ecosystem Dynamics (20 CP)
    Module: Environmental Hydrogeology (6 CP)
    Module: Weather and Climate Diagnosis (8 CP)

    Of the elective courses, modules totalling 16 CP are taken at Freie Universität Berlin as follows:
    1. Of the following two modules, one module totalling 6 CP must be chosen and completed:
    a) Module: Landscape-Forming Processes and Material Flows (6 CP)
    b) Module: Morphodynamics (6 CP)
    2. Of the following modules, a student must choose and complete one module totalling 10 CP or two modules each totalling 5 CP:
    a) Module: Modelling in Environmental Hydrology (10 CP)
    b) Module: Landscape Archaeology (10 CP)
    c) Module: Climate Models (5 CP)
    d) Module: Environmental Hydrology in Practice (5 CP)

    In the mandatory study period abroad, course units (CU) totalling 900 hours (30 CP) are completed at Nanjing University, China, as follows:
    1. The CU Chinese language course totalling 300 hours (10 CP) must be completed.
    2. A total of 5 CU from at least three different subject areas must be chosen and completed. Each CU totals 120 hours.
    a) Subject area: Geography
    b) Subject area: Ocean Environments
    c) Subject area: Atmospheric Processes
    d) Subject area: Earth Information Systems

    Study abroad unit(s)

    Studying at Nanjing University (China) for one semester is an integral part of the Master's curriculum and is scheduled for the second semester of the Master's programme. The coursework and exams during this study period abroad are part of the Master's programme.
    The supervisors responsible for the Master's programme support students in their plans and preparations for studying abroad. They provide information about possible funding of travel and subsistence costs.
    The Chinese Nanjing University will issue a separate certificate confirming the coursework completed in the course units studied at the Chinese Nanjing University.

    Forms of assessment

    Depending on the type of teaching and learning, there are different forms of assessment. The main types of teaching include lectures, seminars, reading courses, exercise courses, practical course, and colloquia. The assessment is based on active participation and written exams at the end of the semester. Active participation is assessed by regular attendance, contribution to discussions, completion of assignments, oral presentations, written reports, exercises with simulation programmes, and group work.
    For more information, please refer to the study regulations for the double degree Master's programme in Environmental Earth Sciences, accessible via the programme's homepage:

    Course objectives

    The graduates of the Master's programme will be able to familiarise themselves rapidly and independently with subject matter in the Earth and Environmental Sciences and to plan, implement and finalise process- and system-oriented projects using a goal-oriented approach. They will be familiar with the interrelations between the solid Earth, the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere in terms of environmental science. They will have a comprehensive understanding of the processes within and between the various geospheres and be able to analyse and interpret them. They will have gained knowledge of fundamental and advanced geoscientific methods, including field methods, and be able to apply them. As a result of their study stay in China, graduates will possess knowledge of regional environmental systems and geoscientific processes.
    They will acquire inter- and transdisciplinary abilities and skills to meet the challenges posed by complex environmental issues and problems. Graduates will be able to document and present their results clearly and to consider and evaluate their results critically. They will possess communication and teamwork skills and will be capable of responsible action and independent scientific work.
    Graduates of the Master's programme will be qualified for professional employment or for doctoral studies. Possible employment positions and activity include work in government, associations, organisations, industry, NGOs, development agencies, engineering and geo-consulting, insurance companies, consultancy, administration, and politics. Graduates may work within the public sector, mainly in higher education and research establishments as well as with subject-related federal and regional authorities. International research establishments and organisations also provide various employment opportunities. The study period at the University of Nanjing and the regional competences they have acquired will open up fields of employment in China as well.

    University requirements

    With 33,000 applicants for the undergraduate programs (Bachelor) in 2013, admissions at Freie Universität remain highly competitive as the university only offers about 4,300 places each year. Due to the high numbers of applicants, most undergraduate programs at Freie Universität have limitations determined through the NC. The general deadline for students directly from high school applying to limited programs in the coming winter semester is 15 July every year at all universities in Germany.

    In some cases (especially Medicine and Psychology), the NC every year is as high as 1.0 (see Grades in Germany and Abitur). Critical applicants which just scored slightly below the NC can be invited to an selective interview or an entry exam, depending on the department/faculty. Applicants at Charité medical school who do not directly fulfill the NC-criteria have to pass an entry exam, which covers the basic fields of Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and Physics in addition to passing a selective interview. Both results are then added to the Abitur grade. The final decision depends on the results of the competitors.

    Program requirements

    Language requirements

    Applicants who did not obtain their university degree at an educational institution where instruction was in English must provide evidence of English language skills at the C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) or one of the following equivalents:
    TOEFL: 550 paper, 213 computer and 90 Internet
    IELTS: Overall Band Score at least 6.5
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency of Advanced English (CAE)

    Academic requirements

    The prerequisite for entry to the Master's programme is a professionally qualifying degree from a German or equivalent foreign university in Geological Sciences, Geographical Sciences, Meteorology, Biology, Geoecology, or a university degree in natural sciences in which 15 credits were obtained in the fields of Geological Sciences, Geographical Sciences, or Meteorology.
    Applicants who did not obtain their university degree at an educational institution where instruction was in English must provide evidence of English language skills at the C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

    Enrolment fees

    Please see:

    Costs of living

    Please note that additional expenses for the practical course of the module Ecosystem Dynamics will arise during the course of study. The amount of these expenses is based on the costs incurred such as travel, accommodation, etc.

    Arrival support

    Individuals interested in studying at Freie Universität Berlin as well as currently enrolled students who do not find the information they are looking for on the website are welcome to address their questions to the Info-Service Studium of Freie Universität Berlin. The experienced staff will reply by phone, e-mail, or online chat to questions regarding degree programmes, the application procedure, studying abroad, or transferring to another university. If you require a more extensive consultation with the Center for Academic Advising and Counseling, you may make this request through the Info-Service.
    Please see:

    Services and support for international students

    Throughout the degree programme, students will be advised by both a German supervisor (Department of Earth Sciences of Freie Universität Berlin) and a Chinese supervisor (School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, and School of Atmospheric Sciences of Nanjing University, China).
    Freie Universität Berlin's Center for Academic Advising and Psychological Counseling will provide general student advisory services (
    Information for international students with a foreign school-leaving certificate who wish to apply directly with Freie Universität may be found at:


    The accommodation service at Freie Universität Berlin (in cooperation with ERG Universitätsservice GmbH) arranges accommodation for international programme students and visiting scientists/researchers of Freie Universität Berlin.
    Please see:
    Please note that within the last years, it has become increasingly difficult to find affordable housing in Berlin! The growing demand and the increase of the rental prices make it difficult to find a room or apartment in Berlin, especially for students. Therefore, please give yourself enough time to take care of your accommodation arrangements!
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